June 1, 2010 - Rain, Rain Go Away…
It was raining when we woke up for our first day in Bath. It was still raining when we got in the car and drove into town. In fact, it continued raining all morning while we toured the city of Bath, which made it feel like we were taking a walking bath. Our game plan was to stay inside most of the morning and see museums instead of braving the soaking rain. Naturally Erin did not pack a rain jacket. I guess she didn’t think it rained much in England.
Ancient Romans Know How to Relax
Our first stop was the ancient Roman Baths, which until about 150 years ago were covered under many feet of mud and dirt. Bath is renowned for its hot water natural springs and curative powers which were first discovered by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. The museum itself is quite interesting, with caches of Roman coins tossed into the water as wishes.
My favorite part of the museum was the curses that people wrote down on little bits of pewter scroll and tossed in the water. The curse would go something like
this, “Dear Pagan God (insert name of god here), please smote so and so because I think he stole my cloak at the bath today. And oh, please keep the barbarians away from my tomato garden. Last time they were here they smashed all my vegetables. Sincerely, Fabio”
Archeologists also found stone markers in memory of the many Romans that died here. The typical Roman served 20 or years in the military, was granted citizenship, and then promptly died within a year or two. It they were lucky, they were a member of a trade guild that paid for their cremation. The average age when they died was somewhere between 40 and 45. Makes you think about how harsh life must have been back then.
Fashion Museum Not So Fashionable
The rain had not let up by the time we finished the Roman Baths, so we walked uphill to the Fashion Museum. It was a combo ticket with the Roman Baths, but in retrospect they probably should have paid us to visit the museum. The Fashion Museum was full of clothes from the last 5 decades that normal people never wore. It also reminded me of the
clothes in Grandma’s closet when I was a kid that had long since been donated to charity. To be fair, there were some interesting Victorian dresses, and some really old gloves but it only gets two stars on the “meh” scale.
Still raining, we left the Fashion Museum and walked back down hill for some lunch at another Cornish Pasty restaurant. Lots of different flavor combos this time, I had the tomato, cheese and basil Pasty while Alyssa and Erin had Chicken with Bacon. Certain family members were pretty tired and wanted to go back to the Bed and Breakfast for a nap after we finished lunch. They shall remain un-named, so we will refer to them as T. Gilmore or perhaps Tiffany G.
Walking Tour of Bath
I was able to convince everyone to go on a guided tour of the town first before going back to the B&B. Bath is so beloved by its citizens, that many of them sign up for the “Mayor’s Corps” and give free tours of the city. It’s a wonderful way to learn about the history of Bath, and explore its many nooks and crannies. For example, many of the
older houses in Bath have their windows blocked up to avoid the “window tax” from long ago. Thank goodness they repealed that tax!
So after the guided tour of Bath, we retired to the B&B for a bit before going back out in the evening to explore Bath some more. The rain had finally subsided, but the skies were still overcast. We discovered a very scenic walk along the river near the Pulteney Bridge that was just on the other side of the Roman Baths. The girls had fun walking through a garden maze while Tiffany and I watched the boats on the canal. It was a magnificent view of Bath from across the river, and a nice way to end the day.
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